Mzansi Mourns the Passing of Multi-award-winning musician Bulelwa ‘Zahara’ Mkutukana

Written by on 12 December, 2023

Multi-award-winning AfroPop star Bulelwa “Zahara” Mkututana has passed away. The hitmaker died at a private Johannesburg Hospital on Monday night. Fiancé Mpho Xaba was by her bedside.

The Loliwe hitmaker was admitted in hospital with liver complications two weeks ago. A source close to the musician told Sunday World that the singer passed away just before 9pm.

The news of her passing was then confirmed by Arts and Culture Minister Zizi Kodwa.

In a late-night tweet, the minister said he was very saddened by the passing of the singer and expressed his deepest condolences to her family and the South African music industry.

He remembered Zahara as having made an incredible and lasting impact on South African music.

I am very saddened by the passing of

My deepest condolences to the Mkutukana family and the South African music industry. Government has been with the family for some time now. Zahara and her guitar made an incredible and lasting impact in South African music.


Two weeks ago, Zahara’s family posted a statement on her social media accounts, responding to media reports she had taken ill.

According to the posts, the 35-year-old singer had been admitted to hospital suffering “physical pains” and that doctors had been treating her – she passed away on Monday at a private hospital. The cause of death has not yet been revealed.


The singing sensation released her first studio album in 2011, called Loliwe, which went double platinum.

Two years later, her second album Phendula also rocked the charts, producing three top singles – PhendulaImpilo and Stay.

And she did it again in 2015, with Country Girl, which went triple platinum, and then Nqaba Yam – her fifth album which hit number one on iTunes.

The self-taught guitarist scooped 17 SAMusic awards, three other awards and a Nigeria Entertainment award.

Social media has been flooded with messages of condolence, with many expressing their shock and sadness at the news.

Singer-songwriter, Lady Zamar, tweeted: “She did a lot for the music industry in South Africa – paving the way for so many others with her iconic presence and guitar in hand. She will be missed.”

Other users poured their condolence too:

A musical icon has gone to sleep 🙏🏼🕊️ The Award winning artist Zahara will be greatly missed 🥹💔 Rest in Peace Bulelwa Zahara Mkutukana ❤️

  • Thank you for sharing your gift… Rest Well #Zahara 🕊 🕊
  • As we wake up to the sad news of her untimely passing, we join South Africa and the music industry in conveying our deepest and sincere condolences to the Mkutukana Family Friends and colleagues on the Zahara’s passing. May her soul rest in peace 🕊️
  • Zahara’s Umgodi went gold in 6 hours and Platinum in 24 hours. Phendula achieved Platinum in a day and Country Girl double platinum in a day. Loliwe sold over 800k albums. 100k copies in 17 days. 350k hard copies in 4 months. Zahara remains one of the best selling artists in SA
  • We will forever remember one Zahara a jewel of our country thought her music Uloliwe, Ndiza, Umthwalo, Phendula…
  • 🕊️🕊️🕊️ Rest in Peace Zahara, You’ll forever be remembered 😔
  • One thing I’ve been privileged to experience about Zahara, was that at any given time to perform, she’d rise to the occasion. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. You are free now 🕊️🕯️🙏🏾 #RIPZahara
  • Zahara’s passing, reminiscent of Brenda Fassie’s, is deeply saddening. May Zahara rest in peace.


Gagasi FM

What You Want to Hear